George, It’s All About Your Legacy!

Disclaimer: This is a fictitious conversation between President Bush and his Dad, George Bush Sr. It is set in the month of Dec 2006 after the Iraq Study Group Report and after Rumsfield was replaced as Secretary of Defense. If you are wondering why now, it is because I didn’t publish this for various reasons — waiting for my site re-design, busy with other things, plus a combination of laziness and “will get to it later” syndrome.

Ok, so here goes..

Hi, George. How are things?

Hangin’ in there I guess.

Have you read the ISG report yet?


I said the ISG report!

What is that?

I mean the report that Baker put together.

Oh! Ok. Don’t get me started on that. I thought Baker was bored and you wanted me to give him something to do. I did, and he turns in this huge a… report and now I have to read it, because everyone on the planet wants to know what I think about it! What do you expect from a bunch of grumpy old men? Did you know that the average age on that group was 74? Those men are nuts. Also, the whole concept of a bipartisan study group makes no sense. What our politicians in Washington can agree on does not mean that it’s best for Iraq, does it?

George. Can you stop givin’ me the talking points that Karl has been feeding you? Iraq is a complete mess and you gotta act quickly and do somethin’ about it.

So you think I am doing nothin’? I just met with Malliki and what-was-his-name, the deputy PM of Iraq, whatever his name was. I have been talking to Blair all the time. I might even meet the Syrian guy, Syriana or somethin’…was that his name? And, who knows, maybe even that crazy Iranian President chap, the guy who hates Israel. Dad, it’s hard. But I’m doing my best.

But son, the situation has gotten really bad. Americans are dying. Your poll ratings are dropping. And the world is watching. Please plan on some quick action, will ya?

There you go again. So you think I am not doin’ enough?

Fine, you are doin’ your best. But lemme tell ya, from now on for you, it’s all about your legacy.

Legacy? What is that? It sounds like you have found something new to complain about. BTW, I meant to ask you. What was all that stuff about you choking in public at a speech with Jeb? People are saying that you were overcome by emotion because you had planned for Jeb to be President but I became President instead! I am having enough trouble as it is in Washington. Can you sit tight and not make things worse for me, please? Tears in public, nonsense! And what does Jeb do, he runs up to the stage and hugs you. Oh…goody-goody son of yours. Crap!

Fine, I’ll sit tight. But please do something about Iraq.

Ok, you want me to embrace Baker’s report? The Iraqis don’t like it, nor does Condi or myself. Limbaugh, Bennett, and others don’t like it either. How do you expect me to accept it? When I ask Cheney about it, he says let’s go hunting and discuss this! You know what happened the last time someone went hunting with him, don’t you? And now Rummy is gone and I have this new guy, Gates, to work with. Isn’t he like the richest man in world or somethin’?

Good Lord! Please, George. You are confusing Bob Gates for Bill Gates! To be honest, I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Anyway, George, you gotta get something done about Iraq. That’s your only hope to leave behind a decent legacy.

What’s with the legacy thing again?

It’s about what people will remember you for long after you are gone from office. Reagan is remembered for the end of the cold war. I am remembered for the Kuwait war. Bill is remembered for great economic times and, of course, his nonsense with that girl in the White House. What do you want to be remembered for ─ A lousy war that sacrificed American lives and plunged the Middle East into utter chaos and spread terrorism worldwide? Think about it, George. People like that guy Gore are going around saying that your decision to attack Iraq was the greatest strategic blunder in American history.

Gore! What does he know? The smart ass that he thinks he is. Remember I kicked his butt in the last election.

Mmh…..Not quite, George. It was not until I put in a call to Rehnquist, remember?

Ok, ok. Let’s not get into that right now.

Anyway, Gore has only the climate to worry about. I hear he is makin’ movies these days. Isn’t he going to win an Oscar or something for that movie “Inconvenient Truth?” We have a joke in the White House — the biggest inconvenient truth is that he lost the election in 2000! He still can’t get over it so he named his movie after it! Anyways, when is the last time someone from Hollywood was taken seriously?

Don’t be so sure, George. That Arnie chap in California just won re-election. Also Clooney and others are making a lot of noise about Darfur and being heard.

Mmmhh…. Interesting. What will I be remembered for? Lemme think here ─ No child left behind, privatization of social security, patriot act, making America safer, spreading freedom and democracy…….

George, cut it out! Cut it out, will ya? None of this stuff you are babbling about matters. Your legacy will be determined by what happens in Iraq over the next two years of your Presidency. The people have already put the Democrats in charge of the Congress. You need to wake up and smell the coffee. Laura, Laura, are you around? Are you listening? Can you please join in this conversation and explain this to George.

(Laura speaks up…..Yes, Dad, I am listening. I am here to help in anyway I can!)

Aw, Dad. Stop getting hysterical.

What do you mean, hysterical? People are dying in Iraq, George.

You think I don’t know that?

You certainly do, but you ain’t doin’ anything about it. You hear me?

There you go again. What do you mean I am not doin’ anything about it? I just got off the phone with General Casey, I spoke earlier today with Abbas of the PLO, the Egyptian President, and others.

That’s fine, George. Just do something quick, please. People are going to forget about my Kuwait victory and instead remember me for being your Dad!

Aha-ha, ok, now this is all starting to make sense. That is the problem! You are afraid of your — what do you call it….legacy? Yes, your legacy. So if I don’t fix Iraq, you will start to look bad. Is that it?

George, George, listen to me.

No, I don’t want none of that, Dad. Remember, the American people elected me not once, but twice. The booted you out after one term and brought in that Bubba chap from somewhere in the boonies…wherever that was… I think it was Louisiana or some place like that.

(Laura helps…Honey, Clinton was from Arkansas.)

Thank you, Laura. Yes, Arkansas. Who cares anyway?

Barbara steps in. George, that’s enough! I have had it with you. Your Dad has been so worried about Iraq and you and he is trying his best to help you. He dragged Baker into this so he could help you out. Instead of appreciating this, you have the gall to talk to him like that!

Mom, last I checked, I was President of the United States.

Cut that crap George. You were my son first before you become President. Besides, we have had other Presidents and Governors in this house before you. Just remember that.

Mom, Mom, calm down. I take that back. Dad just pushed me over the edge. Life is tough in Washington as you know……Ok, I’m sorry. Time out, time out! Let’s take a step back for a moment. How do you explain Dad going around town shedding tears in public for Jeb, the son who should have been President?

George, I am not getting into that. End of discussion. Not another word.

Fine, Mom. Laura, lets go. Thank God for being President, at least I have the last word outside this house!

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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